"We are a punk band from Providence, Rhode Island," is the type of statement that should be uttered right before a band of this nature rips into the first blistering notes.
It sounds congruous to the "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash," sentiment: short, direct, ready to rock.
Downtown Boys drummer Norlan Olivo is just one of the six members of this multi-racial, politically charged outfit, yet they all share the common goal of spreading a message of "wake up!" This is what he believes to be the band's mantra.
When this neo-punk, jazz-infused band of revolutionaries hits the Savannah stage July 16 at Hang Fire, this will be in full display.
"I think the Downtown Boys movement is a 'waker-upper.' A lot of people seem to think racism is over, which it's obviously not," he said.
Downtown Boys face off against any notion that we, as a society, are fixed. Stagnation is not a word that enters into their vocabulary. They want to move people to take action. They're a party band with a manifesto. If you're grooving to ideas, then they have achieved their goal.
"Most of us (the band) are coming from a position of politics," said guitarist Joey DeFrancesco, who's done a fair bit of political organizing in the band's home base of Providence.
These are individuals who are not simply subscribing to the "let's put on a show" motto. They weren't bored or looking for a way out. The men and women who make up Downtown Boys felt a greater purpose.
In a way, the band shares a similar radicalism with 1990s hard rock staple Rage Against the Machine. Lead vocalist Victoria Ruiz feels a sense of pride when being painted in the same light as Rage and its guerilla-esque emcee Zack Dela Rocha.
"They did such a great job of infiltrating the mass media and neo-liberal forms of art," she said.
Ruiz and her comrades are locked into a "peaceful anarchy" state of mind. DeFrancesco, for instance, discusses the band's stage persona.
"We enhanced the stage show to make it more performance-based," he said. "The political aspect of the band comes out in between songs."
During this time, Downtown Boys take the opportunity to spread their message of equality while fighting against a culture of stasis.
Multi-racial men and women with a socio-political message? There was a little band in the '60s and '70s called Sly and The Family Stone that seems strikingly similar.
The music itself is oftentimes described as punk.
"Punk is probably the best descriptor. It's not offensive to us," DeFrancesco said; however, he is quick to mention the other primary influence of jazz that informs the band's sound. "We love political jazz and horns."
Hence the presence of saxophones on their self-titled debut.
Ruiz is self-effacing when it comes to her vocal style, which can best be described as primal. She thinks of it as a sort of chanting.
"The singing is a mechanism for all the other things we want to express with this band," she said. "Trying to learn how to shout was the toughest part."
She achieves this with great force. Think Siouxsie Sioux, but fiercer. Listen to her as she jackhammers her way through "Slumlord Sal." It achieves exactly the band's goals: Message through music. This woman isn't merely screaming for effect on a record. She's screaming at an entire subculture of people.
As for the music behind the vocals, it's fast and doesn't let the listener off the hook. From anywhere between 50 and 120 seconds, The Downtown Boys grab your attention.
"We create this really loud backing to the Victoria talking," drummer Olivo said. It isn't far from the truth.
Depending on what you're looking for in a night of entertainment, Downtown Boys' overarching persona certainly is not lacking in confidence.
"We always say, 'Carnivals come cheap.' We're trying not to do a carnival," Ruiz said. "We can be more collectively than our individual parts."